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Serena's picture

Serena

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Sibling Relationships after the death of parents

My brother did not get enough (according to him) in the will so he has decided that he will never speak to me again.  He phoned me and told me this a few days ago.

 

He also told me to change my last name as he does not want to be related to me anymore.  I could also put this under the thread "shooting the wounded".   He is the head elder in his church.

 

So, for those of you who are adult orphans, how many of your siblings have used the death of the parent to unleash their venom on you and blame you?

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carolla's picture

carolla

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Did you get along well with your brother before the death of your parents Serena? 

kaythecurler's picture

kaythecurler

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Oh Serena - grieving truly sucks, and that includes your own style of grief and that of the other people you know.  Everyone has different issues involved and diferent styles of handling things.  I'm sorry you and your brother are having difficulties.

waterfall's picture

waterfall

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Why did your parents leave more to you Serena?

Personally all the money in the world isn't worth losing the rest of the family. Have you considered sharing equally? Not to reward your bro's bad behaviour but ............... I don't understand why your parents did it this way?

 

Nasty things, these wills can be sometimes!

carolla's picture

carolla

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It raises an interesting point ... that often people expect to recieve assets from their parents when they die and upset comes when those expectations are not met.  

 

My view is that the assets belong to the parents, they can make whatever decisions they want about them ... leave me none, or some ... not really up to me and not worth fighting about.  But that's just me. 

seeler's picture

seeler

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That didn't happen in our family, perhaps because our parents didn't have anything to to leave.  In fact I think maybe losing our parents, and then our brother drew us closer together.  We understand that there are only the three of us now that share the genes and the family memories.  That said, my older sister and I did get into a big argument over the wording on a card that was with the flowers at our brother's funeral.

 

It was different with Mr. Seeler's brothers.  One brother had done quite well (by our standards)..  He we worth much more then any of us imagined.  During his final battle with cancer Mr. Seeler visited him as often as possible - he would call from his home in the next province and ask him down.  Our grown children also made the effort to go down to see him, and took our granddaughter.  None of us discussed the estate or will. When he died he left half of his estate to a step-son and divided the remainder between his four brothers, our children and grandchild, and another nephew.  The way two brothers saw it Mr. Seeler got more than his share because our children and grandchildren were also remembered.   

 

Mr. Seeler was very hurt to be accused of 'sucking up' to the dying brother.  I was mad.   It took us a while to forgive the brothers.

 

seeler's picture

seeler

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Serena - surely your brother can see how riduclous he is asking you to change your name.  If he no longer wants to be associated with you, it should be him to change his name.  And what he is doing is an insult to your mother.  She had the right to divide her estate however she wanted and he should be grateful for whatever he got.

 

Don't let him upset you more than necessary.  I know it hurts.

 

She_Devil's picture

She_Devil

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I am an only child so I did not have this problem.  

 

How much do you need to pay him to keep being your brother?  Do you need a brother that badly?

jesouhaite777's picture

jesouhaite777

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Evidently your brother's anger is misdirected at you , he can't lash out at anyone else for obvious reasons ..... but were you two close before  ? was this the straw that broke the camels back ?

I don't understand why children should have expectations ?  this the side of loss that no one ever wants to talk about .... the fact that you come into considerable assets when parents die . and if your life was poverty laced before this can effectively pull you out of it .... a mixed blessing if you will ......

not everyone is close to their families and no amount of blood is worth it if you are not loved and treated with respect ....

you're brother has some very unchristian like behaviour

 

kaythecurler's picture

kaythecurler

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I decided NOT to get angry when my 2nd parent died and left the entire estate to one sibling that wasn't me.  It was hard for a while though, it 'felt' unfair and as if I had less value to my parent.  I did refuse to pay any of the funeral costs.  I also refused to help with the costs of cleaning, listing and selling the family home.  That sibling is also gone now and the entire combined estate went to the adult children. 

Serena's picture

Serena

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waterfall wrote:

Why did your parents leave more to you Serena?

Personally all the money in the world isn't worth losing the rest of the family. Have you considered sharing equally? Not to reward your bro's bad behaviour but ............... I don't understand why your parents did it this way?

 

Nasty things, these wills can be sometimes!

 

I do not have the authority to "share equally".   As this affects my sister and her children as well.  My sister actually got more than I did so it is not mine to dole out.

 

The estate does not have the money that he is asking for.  I would be in the hole $40,000 if I gave my brother all the money he wanted.  He told me that it is my responsibility to pay for her funeral, lawyer's fees, mortgage, etc. and that money can't come out of the estate.  Once the expenses are paid there is no windfall.

 

He and his children did not come to the funeral nor did they phone or send flowers.

 

The reason why the estate was not shared equally was because my brother is my mother's stepson.  She did not include his children in the will at all because they are not her grandchildren.  They did not call her grandma and did not visit her, call her, or celebrate Christmases and birthdays with her.  Their grandmother is still living and they have that type of relationship with her.

 

I think that he is very greedy to want to inherit from my mother when he could not even visit her in the hospital or attend her funeral.

 

He did e-mail a few days after New Year's requesting a copy of the will.

Serena's picture

Serena

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carolla wrote:

Did you get along well with your brother before the death of your parents Serena? 

 

Yes.  I would not say that we were close.   But maybe as close as you can be with a brother because a brother is a guy.

Serena's picture

Serena

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jes wrote:

you're brother has some very unchristian like behaviour

 

Does he?   He is exactly like the Christians I know.

 

seeler's picture

seeler

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Serena - I believe that you said in another post that you are the executor.  As executor it is your responsibility to pay any income taxes owing to the date of death, the funeral, any outstanding expenses before you pay out any bequests, and definitely before dividing up the residue according to the instructions of the will.   If your brother is a beneficiary he is entitled to a copy of the will.  If he is a residuary beneficiary he is entitled to an copy of the inventory and a copy of the estate accounts. 

 

I just realized that I worked in a different province than yours, but I imagine that this would be the case anywhere. 

 

Your mother had the right to distribute her estate as she saw fit.   and you are right about your sister's share.  You would be required to give it to her even if you wanted to do otherwise.  Stand your ground against your brother.  He has no reason to be angry with you.

 

jesouhaite777's picture

jesouhaite777

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You are on your own now ..... gotta look out for No 1

 

lastpointe's picture

lastpointe

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Serena, if you are the executor of the estate, get in touch with a lawyer.  Your job is to divide teh estate as the will stipulates.  Most wills stipulate how the funeral and taxes... are to be paid.  Remember that your mom still needs to file income taxes and possibly pay some as well.

 

A good estate lawyer will lead you through this mine field.

 

Death and money bring out the worst in people but following the law will at least give you backing.

 

carolla's picture

carolla

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Hi Serena - as you've written a little more about the family being combined, it perhaps sheds some light on expectations.  I wonder if your brother feels more entitled, as possibly his dad brought more to the original situation than your mom (as does sometimes happen) ... and perhaps your mom inherited that estate when your dad died (as is often the case too) ... and now it is being distributed through you mom's will.  I can see how that might get messy.   I too hope you will have a lawyer assist you with your executor duties.  That can be quite a complex job.  

Serena's picture

Serena

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A lawyer IS doing the probate.  I do not have a legal degree and do not want to make a mess of things.

 

I just can't believe that my brother feels so entitled.

 

The money his mother had came from my Dad as well.  He had to put a lien on his business to pay her out.  He had this business when my mom had me already.  The divorce settlement took forever in addition to alimony.  So seriously, what his mother had came from OUR dad as well.  My sister and I do not share in that so neither should he share in this estate.

Serena's picture

Serena

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seeler wrote:
As executor it is your responsibility to pay any income taxes owing to the date of death, the funeral, any outstanding expenses before you pay out any bequests, and definitely before dividing up the residue according to the instructions of the will.

 

I know this.  My brother is just being an idiot about the whole thing.   He has his greedy hand out before the body is even cold.

SLJudds's picture

SLJudds

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 Serena - The estate pays for funeral, lawyer's fees and mortgage unless the will says otherwise. 

Your brother is trying to bully you. Don't fall for it. Some people want a fall guy to blame their troubles on - siblings are almost as common as ex-wives for this.

How a person - especially a parent - divides up their estate is their business alone. Perhaps there are reasons that you don't know - parents often  keep secrets about one child from the others. Loans are a good example of that. It is your duty to follow the will as it is written.

My next older brother has phoned me once in the past 20 years. When my mother was dying, he told my other siblings that I was trying to get my mother to give all her money to me - actually I persuaded her to live for another 2 years by taking a dietary supplement. He knew I could elicit a promise from her that she would never break, so he figured I would use it to my advantage. I got back at him by proving that one of the secrets I kept was how he got his unusual name (actually a touching story). He tried to kill me a few times when we were kids and his opinion of me never changed - just his ability to hide it.

Our mother understood us better than we ever knew. It's not your right to overrule the final decisions of yours, she may well have been the same.

Siblings - especially the nasty ones - are experts at causing guilt. Don't be bullied.

Serena's picture

Serena

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I was hoping that my brother would become closer when my parents died.   I really feel like he let me down.

 

My siblings have families.  They have spouses and kids.  I have no one.  I guess I just really wanted to be included a little in their families and not cut out.

jlin's picture

jlin

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Wills are weird things.  They destroy more families than you know.  Time does have some interesting tricks to play, however.  I have always been on the losing end of any will but my Sister ( who hasn't been and has fared better and so is less stressed out) suggested that I just shrug my shoulders and not let the material loss of the moment get to me.  I can just see the sneers. 

 

But, you forget how well two sisters may know each other and how  honest and uncorrupt women are capable of being when they are sisters.  And so, I took her advice and it started my healing and bizarrely, a little healing in the people who have distanced themselves because they made so much bread.  We actually communicate and have hugged, real heart-felt hugs. 

 

Serena, so I give you my sister's advice.  Love your brother, shrug your shoulders and maybe,  give him  a great gift, costing you some emotional attachment that means you don't get to have the cool gift - because it belongs only to his soul and you wouldn't even know about this gift, if you hadn't known him and you value this thing and this part of him . . . so much

 

let him know this through this gift.    I am not giving you my advice, so I don't feel so scared about it. 

 

It's not about your Dad's stuff anymore, it's about how you take care of each other.

Serena's picture

Serena

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jiln wrote:
Love your brother, shrug your shoulders and maybe,  give him  a great gift, costing you some emotional attachment that means you don't get to have the cool gift - because it belongs only to his soul and you wouldn't even know about this gift, if you hadn't known him and you value this thing and this part of him . . . so much

 

Are you saying BUY him a gift?   THe guy who has a sauna and hot tub in his basement and his own closet full of clothes and accessories?

 

Or are you saying give him something from our Dad?  Too late for that.  He was here like a vulture after my Dad died.  From my mom he got my Dad's ring, my Dad's accordian, my Dad's boxing trophies, my Dad's grandfather clock.   I bought my Dad's van and sold it to him when my mom was in the hospital because I was only working part time and needed the money.  HE only paid me 3/4 of the agreed on price.  I let that go under the bridge because he is my brother and I was not going to fight about money.  I think he did this because he thought that he should be given my father's van (my sister and I paid our mother for things and he just took) and he knew if he did not pay anything I would report him to the police.  He gave me three checks for the van and cancelled one.  So I think my not reporting that should be his present.

 

He tried to get my Dad's sewing machines and not only does not sew my Dad had promised them to my sister and I.  He also tried to get my Dad's piano and he does not play the piano either.  Really the piano was mine I just never paid to move it to my place because pianos are hugely heavy and I moved every year for awhile.

The only thing that is left here of my Dad's is the stuff he hoarded in the garage and that is junk.

 

I think my brother has everything out of the house that he wants and now he just wants all the money.

martha's picture

martha

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This person ("brother") doesn't deserve your time, worry, or heart ache.  He clearly has enough stuff to sooth him in his loss. 

The dealbreaker must be his outrageous request for you to change your name.  Can he be serious?!  From your posts he is, and is then utterly unworthy of your concern.

Friends are the family you choose (the corollory is then: family are sometimes the people you'd never even know--let alone like-- if they weren't related to you).  It sounds like this guy ceased to be, if he ever was, a friend a long time ago. 

Be with friends. If that includes your sister, then that is great.

waterfall's picture

waterfall

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Serena, on the parenting thread you wrote:

 

"My father was like that.

 

He bought his oldest son a house.  He bought his oldest son several cars.  The rest of us did not get that.

 

If my mother had died first my father would have given my brother everything as well.  My mother died first so she tried to make it right and my brother is still so spoiled he wants the whole estate and thinks he should get it while my sister and I pay for the funeral and other expenses out of our own pockets."

 

 

I'm wondering how your Dad's will was worded? Did he leave something to his son,your sister and you then, but also with the intention that his wife would be fair to all when she died? Was you brother on his own when your Dad died and your sister and you still at home?

 

Serena's picture

Serena

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waterfall wrote:

I'm wondering how your Dad's will was worded? Did he leave something to his son,your sister and you then, but also with the intention that his wife would be fair to all when she died? Was you brother on his own when your Dad died and your sister and you still at home?

 

My Dad did not make a will.  He did not believe that he would ever die.

 

My brother and sister were both married when my Dad died and I was not at home either.  He died less than two years before my mom.

 

Serena's picture

Serena

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Martha wrote:
The dealbreaker must be his outrageous request for you to change your name. 

 

Maybe I should change my name?  I have no family anymore anyway.

waterfall's picture

waterfall

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Serena, what you are talking about here actually happened within my family. When my mother died my Dad remarried. Her children were all grown and had lives of their own, they were not my father's children.

 

When he died, we found out he had left everything to her (the will was changed six months before he died, while he was in a wheelchair and on oxygen 24/7, and he was not himself anymore)

 

My father has been gone now for 24 years and my "stepmother" is still alive. She still recieves a pension from the angican church and still lives from investing the money from my mother's insurance, dad's insurance, the home etc... She sold everything that was my mothers and fathers and gave some of these things away to "needy" people, even though my sister was only 11 when my mother died and would have liked some remembrances.She will most likely leave everything to her children when she dies.

 

I came to the conclusion a long time ago that the best inheritance I recieved from my parents was the gift of life and the family I came from.

 

Serena, family is more important than money will ever be. At one time your Dad bounced that man (your step brother) on his knee when he was a child and was cherished. He is  a part of the family. I hope the money doesn't come between you, he holds memories about your Dad that you both may enjoy sharing someday. And that is priceless!

 

 

 

 

 

jesouhaite777's picture

jesouhaite777

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That sounds like the same kind of sentimental nonsense people use to defend an abusive relationship ..... it's okay if you are getting beat up .... because marriage is  sacred so it should be above all else .... this might not be physical , it does amount to the same thing ....we can't assume that both kids were loved equally or cherished equally because we were not there ...i'm sure that this dude's resentment comes from somewhere and he is taking it out on the wrong person ......better to be alone than to subject one's self to degredation ... and if you gotta be alone better to have some money to take care of oneself ...

waterfall's picture

waterfall

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Well jes, that's another take on it, but I can assure you my choosing to not become bitter and resentful has worked fine with me.

 

Any financial security I've obtained has been strictly through my own efforts, and I'm okay with that too.

 

 

Serena's picture

Serena

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waterfall wrote:

Serena, family is more important than money will ever be. At one time your Dad bounced that man (your step brother) on his knee when he was a child and was cherished. He is  a part of the family. I hope the money doesn't come between you, he holds memories about your Dad that you both may enjoy sharing someday. And that is priceless!

 

You seem to be missing the point.  The money has already come between us.  Even if I could afford to pay my brother everything he wants how will it erase the nasty things he said to me?   Why should I borrow money to make sure that his kids and grandkids get $3000 each?  It is not a matter of giving him my share he wants my sister's share as well and that is not mine to give.

My brother wants absolutely no contact with me.  For me to run after him and beg him to take the money (if I had it....he does not seem to understand that the funeral has to be paid for)

 

He will never phone me.  He will never send a Christmas card or birthday card.  He will never come visit.  If I phone him, send birthday cards etc.  at first I can just listen to him berate me and then when he gets tired of that he will probably get a restraining order since he told me never to phone him or go to his house.

waterfall's picture

waterfall

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I hear you. I just get sad when wills do this to families. And I agree your stepbrother is not behaving the best.

Your situation is unique and everyone has to decide for themselves what is best and move on. 

This  thread will hopefully point out the importance of  what we put in our wills.

 

 

jlin's picture

jlin

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Serena,

 

What I meant was give him something really great.  That doesn't necessitate expensive.  A photograph - a very small one done in a small way may work - if it's something fun that you did together and that is a bond between you.  Let him deal with it as he wants.  If he decides to trash it that's his issue, but give him the chance. 

 

I would wait for quite a while before doing this - a year or so. 

 

Also, I am very suspect about people who consider trashing family as the answer to problems and issues.  After all we can never trash them.  If we don't contact them they will just follow us around disguised as someone else, - spouse, parent, child, friend, clergy, teacher whathave;you.

 

Even if there are long breaks,let there be some communication.  It's easier on everyone.

airclean33's picture

airclean33

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jlin wrote:

Serena,

 

What I meant was give him something really great.  That doesn't necessitate expensive.  A photograph - a very small one done in a small way may work - if it's something fun that you did together and that is a bond between you.  Let him deal with it as he wants.  If he decides to trash it that's his issue, but give him the chance. 

 

I would wait for quite a while before doing this - a year or so. 

 

Also, I am very suspect about people who consider trashing family as the answer to problems and issues.  After all we can never trash them.  If we don't contact them they will just follow us around disguised as someone else, - spouse, parent, child, friend, clergy, teacher whathave;you.

 

Even if there are long breaks,let there be some communication.  It's easier on everyone.

  Jlin  I agree with all you said When you die  and I hope it is many years from now. Befor they bury they should check your Heart. I think it's made of Gold. I would ade only this it  is your only brother. you won't have another your Father was his Father time heals.-------(You know that may be good thing for are Churchs to remember .)

Serena's picture

Serena

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jiln;

 

He chose the no contact.  I need to respect his wishes.

Serena's picture

Serena

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Thanks for your help guys.   From now on when I meet people I will just tell them I am an only child.

 

If you have to pay someone to have a relationship with you that relationship was not worth anything in the first place.

 

I am an only child.  It will take some getting used to.  There are benefits.  I don't have to buy anyone birthday or Christmas presents.  I do not have to attend weddings or baby showers.  I do not have to drive to the city for family dinners or cook family dinners.

 

For me I do not want to send a birthday or Christmas card in a few years and be rejected again.  Once was enough.

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